To the Colby Community:
We, the undersigned, chaplains and advisors come together to condemn the toxic discourse that has overtaken our community in recent days. We say clearly and passionately that there is no place for Islamophobia or Antisemitism on our campus.
We seek earnestly in our work to create space for challenging discourse, to support underrepresented groups, and to build community across lines of difference. We encourage the campus to take advantage of these ongoing opportunities, knowing that the place for these interaction is face-to-face, not behind the veil of web-based anonymity. And we pledge, in particular, to create specific space for Jewish and Muslim dialogue to flourish at Colby.
Further, we wish to ro remind our campus that to affirm particular identities is not synonymous with denigrating others. To say that Black or Jewish or Muslim lives matter is not a rejection of other identities, but rather an acknowledgement that as a campus and world we have work to do.
Finally, as people of faith and campus leaders, wish to offer our thanks to the student leaders who have brought these collective issues to light. After a week of protests, and racists posts, community forums, awareness raising, and hard discussions, it is a grave disappointment to see Antisemitic and Islamophobic posts on Yik Yak. Standing in our distinct traditions, we wish to affirm all people as reflections of the divine.
The Holy Quran reminds us, “Behold, We have…made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another.” (Surah 49:13, Asad Translation.) In the Jewish tradition, we learn from the example of our two great sages, Hillel and Shammai. Though they disagreed vehemently on the most central issues, both affirmed the value of the other and their opinions. Even when they could not agree, they would eat together, and affirm that both of their assertions were the “words of the living God.”
May we see the face of the Divine in one another, and treat one another with the respect and affection that comes with that knowledge.
Rabbi Rachel Isaacs
Lovejoy 347, Hillel Room
Squash Coach and Muslim Advisor
Dean of Religious & Spiritual Life
Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Pugh Center